Posts filed under ‘eating’

Impromptu Fine Dining

Last night I had the best meal of my life.

It was a 2-part win.

In the first place, the food was sublime.

In the second, I got to eat said meal, sitting at a bar, which is superior to eating at a table in every way.

Usually when one thinks Le Bec Fin, they think formal, big deal, classic French dining…and well they should because this is EXACTLY what you get in the main dining room. It’s all silk wallpaper, fine silver, orchids and course after course of the most exactingly prepared cuisine you can eat in Philadelphia.

While delicious it’s all oh so very VERY formal.

But walk downstairs after you enter the lobby, and you will find a whole other world.

Oh Le Bar Lyonnais, how do I love thee?

The menu is a la carte. (and a BARGAIN I tell you!)

The gentlemen aren’t wearing coats (well, not all of them anyway.)

And you can pop in on a whim without reservations!

Bernard (not sure his exact job, perhaps professional charmer?) is my favorite person on earth at the moment.

It’s worth visiting for his delicious French kisses alone. (My god that sounds risque, but they were relegated exclusively to the cheek, OBVIOUSLY) Alas, now my eyelids are sprained from all of that coy batting they were doing at him.

Oh, and you still get the whole silver dome theatrics at the bar…the whole experience is delightfully contrived!


July 11, 2008 at 7:06 pm Leave a comment


I like to think of myself as a good cook.  I really love baking and deserts and challenging recipes and all that.  What I’m about to show you will probably intimidate the shit out of you…but read on.


That would be my Genoise layer cake with lemon curd   filling and French butter cream.  Pretty gorgeous no?

Here, Let me show you a detail shot.

cake detail

Oh yeah, I sure did use a miniature rosebud to decorate it (a la Flying Monkey).

Right about now you are probably quaking in your inferior oven mitts.

Quake not.  It was a disaster.  You see, this cake was intended to be the dessert for a little dinner party friends were throwing. These particular friends live in Germantown…on Lincoln Drive.  If you know Philadelphia, you probably know Lincoln Drive as the fastest, curviest road in the city…and it is.  Let me break this down for you.  Jeep Cherokee + Lincoln Drive + lemon curd = seismic shift.

My charmingly rustic gateau slipped and slid all over the place.  It was not pretty. (There is no photographic evidence of the event…thank god.)

So there I was with one hell of an ugly cake at one hell of a terrific dinner party.  No matter, as long as it tastes good, who cares what it looks like.

I was able to comfort myself with this thought all the way through dinner.  Then I sliced the cake.  It was…stiff? Impenetrable?  Hmmm, what is the right word for a cake having the consistency of hardened foam rubber?

It was embarrassing.  My dear son said as kindly as possible that it tasted like a lemony eraser.

May 12, 2008 at 10:59 pm Leave a comment

Take it! Take another little piece…

Of my head, er…mouth more specifically.

Tomorrow I am having all of my wisdom teeth removed.  Blech.  I’m really not looking forward to it.  But who would be right?

I’ve stocked up on smooth foods: applesauce, yogurt, tapioca pudding and butternut squash soup.

Hopefully, in a few days I’ll be able to move onto eggs and tofu. Dream big!!!

Tonight is my last meal, so I had wild rice, Frenched lamb chops and green beans.

It was so good.  Good enough to tide me over for a week?  We’ll see.

I plan to spend the next 4 days as high as I can get on my painkillers.  I didn’t bother to buy magazines or rent videos.  I figure I’ll either be blind with pain or so hopped up on meds I won’t be able to open my eyes. Sweet!!!!!!!

(Hold me, I’m scared.)

April 21, 2008 at 2:35 am Leave a comment


Yesterday was one of those highly productive days. I was up early. Took the pupitia to the dogpark. Cleaned the house. I had a meeting with my editor in the morning. Wrote all afternoon. Went grocery shopping and…

Made beef stew.


Garlic (like, half a bulb)



Carrots (oops, I forgot them this time)

Lean stewing beef already cut-up (Trader Joe’s)

Package of cherry, or grape tomatoes

Can of tomato sauce

Molasses (about a 1/4 cup)

Worcestershire sauce (a good squeeze, like a tablespoon)

Tapioca (maybe a 1/4 cup)


Black Pepper

Water or broth (2 cans)


Chop the veggies pretty finely and toss into the bottom of your crockpot. (not the tomatoes, dummy.)

Add remaining ingredients.


Cook for about 4-5 hours on high.

Serve with polenta (follow package instructions, but cook it a little longer and use a little more water than they say…it should be crusty.)

The hubster is a very happy man when he is served beef stew. I have him right where I want him

Bwa ha ha ha ha!!!!

March 26, 2008 at 3:06 pm 1 comment


Last night was one of those perfect evenings.  I’ve been a bit of a cranky bitch lately and decided to show hubster that I did, really, truly, deeply, love and appreciate him.  SO, I dragged my but to DiBruno Brothers and purchased all of the accoutrement necessary to reproduce the gourmet picnics we enjoyed back when we were just dating.

I even warmed up the old debit card on a couple of bottles of Rioja.  (I do deserve a medal, don’t I?)

Husband was suitably surprised and delighted.  The dog was reasonably well behaved (for her anyway.)

The meal was followed by what just might be the greatest documentary ever produced: The Devil and Daniel Johnston.

Oh my freakin god. I don’t remember who recommended it, nor can I explain why it languished first in my Netflix cue, then in the drawer for so long.  Maybe everyone elsein the world already knows about Mr. Johnston.  This movie came out in 2005, so I’m relatively late to the game, but if you too are of the uniatiated, go rent it right now.

Daniel Johnston’s story is like that of many great troubled artists.  He was a gifted outsider, a raw genius in music and art.  He suffered/s from manic depression…severe manice depression.  He developed the most purely cult following of which I’ve ever heard.  His music is beautiful.  It’s pointless for me to try to deliver any more than the most diaphanous view of the man in such a cold medium.  Simply rent the movie, then buy every scrap of music with his name on it that you can find.

The film itself was a remarkable piece of art.  It captures Johnston’s early (from high school) movies along with contemporary footage.

Read more about him here: 

To wrap up this evening of perfection, we went to to L2 (our local) for a little something sweet. The bodda-bing cherry pie rocks my world and their manhattans are nothing to shake a stick at.

March 22, 2008 at 5:22 pm 1 comment

Beef Tendon Soup

Ugh, I’m sick. SICK, I tell you!

I think I’m getting a flu or something. Anyway…because I am the greatest wife EVER, in spite of my debilitating illness, I faithfully accompanied my dear husband on the endless drive to Pottstown to deliver dear old son to his mother.

The traffic was terrible even by Schuylkill standards. To make matters worse, my gastric distress was suffering alarming surges the entire way.

To repay me for my bravery and self-sacrifice, hubster agreed to take me to David’s Mai Lai Wah for my favorite soup.

He fondly refers to it as knuckle soup, but it is really a beef tendon, won-ton, noodle soup, an it is divine. (And coincidently the only known cure for said flu as I see it.)

The tendon soup is not for the faint of heart as is illustrated by the warning issued by the waiters EVERY TIME I ORDER IT: “You ever eat this before? You sure?”

It is exactly what it sounds like: a deep, rich, brown broth, studded by big, snapping chunks of beef tendon, floating shrimp and pork Hong Kong style won-tons, over a base of egg noodles, garnished with greens.

Heaven in a bowl.

I don’t have a recipe for it, I don’t want one. I just need David’s to keep asking me if I’m really really sure I want it.

March 20, 2008 at 4:34 am Leave a comment


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